P-Square may no longer be ‘one’, but for the time the Michael Jackson inspired brothers were together, they raised the bar in terms of music videos in the country.
Michael Jackson was the most influential artist of the 20th century. As a matter of fact, his musical influence on subsequent artists is simply unavoidable, from his immediate followers like Madonna and Bobby Brown, to later stars like Usher and Justin Timberlake, and Nigeria’s P-Square.
P-Square were one of the earliest set of artists who redefined what music videos should look like in the Nigerian music industry. Themed around a properly choreographed dance moves, acting and a well written script, P-Square raised the bar for what music videos should represent in the music industry and all through the course of their music career, the duo maintained the standard that was associated with their visuals.
Their well documented break-up may not give Nigerians the chance to see the brothers do their thing together again, but they delivered a great run while it lasted and it is also interesting to note that most of their videos until the latter days was directed by their brother, Jude ‘engees’ Okoye.
The twin brothers with a penchant for Michael Jackson rapidly climbed up the Nigerian charts. Called P-Square, they followed the formats of Michael Jackson popularized by the likes of early 2000s Usher, with precise choreography to boot.
While their first album, 2003’s Last Nite, followed that format pretty strictly, by their third album Game Over in 2007, the brothers had began incorporating more Nigerian rhythms and melodies, tapping into the Afro pop sound that would fuel the rest of their career.
Before their heartbreaking split in 2017, P-Square had gone on to release many thrilling songs accompanied with awesome videos in which they showcased a lot of the late pop star, Michael Jackson’s dance steps. One of such music videos is ‘Personally’.
The Nigerian born music stars honored their mentor, Michael Jackson in the video known as ‘Personally.’ The late American pop star has a tremendous influence on P-Square. Michael Jackson, fondly called MJ, passed away on June 25, 2009. Of all their Michael Jackson impressions, this turned out to be the brothers’ highest tribute to the legend. From the costuming, complete with the shiny jackets to the hats and dancers, P-Square didn’t exactly bring Wacko Jacko back, but they made an attempt deserving of a mention.
The video comes complete with a portrait of the late legend at the background.
“Personally” was released as the second single from their sixth studio album, Double Trouble in 2014. The music video for the song was directed by Jude Engees Okoye and Clarence Peters. It was uploaded onto Vevo on June 21, 2013, and features a cameo appearance from Osita Iheme.
“Personally” received positive reviews from music critics, who were addicted to its catchy beats and lyrical rhyme schemes. As of February 2015, the music video had eclipsed the 37 million views mark on Vevo. “Personally” claimed the number 1 spot on MTV Base’s Official Naija Top 10 Chart from August 10 through August 22, 2013.
Speaking about their new release, P-Square said that they dedicated the video to MJ, the legendary pop icon who they referred to as their mentor who inspired them to dance, sing and write songs. Moreover, they dedicated the music video to him, adding, “He lives on and inspires us Personally“.
In a thank you video to the duo, Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s elder brother, said, “It’s not everyday that a phenomenal band comes along…..Psquare, they are absolutely sensational with the showmanship, the singing, the dancing..”
“Personally” is also an attempt by P-Square to bring back the old buzz and dance steps of their defunct Smooth Criminals and MMPP dancing groups which they formed in Jos Plateau, Nigeria. The group normally replicated the song and dance steps of MJ. They started their music career with this group when they were schooling in St. Murumba College, Jos.
“Personally” earned P-Square a nomination for Best International Performance at the 2013 Soul Train Music Awards. It was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards. The music video for “Personally” was nominated for Best Music Video of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. The music video was also nominated for Most Gifted Dance at the 2014 Channel O Music Video Awards.
With the era of ‘Azonto’, came different dance routines, and not to be left out of the trend, the brothers released the visuals to their ‘Alingo’ single which came complete with an upgraded version of the ‘Azonto’ dance. The popular dancing hit ‘Alingo’ remains one of the best dance moves in Nigeria. The excellent track presented in 2012. It was featured in the band’s Double Trouble and compilation albums. ‘Alingo’ went on to receive recognition as the Most Gifted African West Video by Channel O Music Video Awards in 2013.
Considering the year it was released, P-Square’s ‘Senorita‘ music video was well ahead of its time. With their Michael Jackson inspired dance moves, a cameo by legendary DJ Jimmy Jatt and a fairly scripted storyline, the video introduced P-Square to the world and immediately ushered them to the front row of the new darlings of the industry.
P-Square’s ‘Roll it’ in 2007 was a club banger and the dance style really thrilled Nigerians. The video which featured Kaffy, had two sets of dancers in white and green, and black and yellow. Peter, the main dancer of the group got Nigerians screaming when he performed a perfect moon walk in the middle of his dance. It is noteworthy that the moon walk has been accredited to the late Michael Jackson.
“Peter and Paul, them be one no be two”, sang P-Square in the hit single, ‘Bizzy Body’, a line that time has exposed to be untrue as the brothers are not only separated but constantly in the news for spiteful comments. Peter and Paul were two halves of a machine. Nigerians felt without each other, they would lose important elements of their artistry. Together, they harnessed it all and created the best pop group of modern Nigerian music.
With recent events, fans hoping for a P-Square reunion may have to accept that it is all in the past now.